Larry Goodermont, an unstoppable mailman, political activist, and choreographer for TCGMC, carries a message of love to all he encounters. His reflections, given only days before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reminds us never to be complacent. VOTE.
Larry: I’m going on four years with the post office. The process was really arduous. At the time, I was really quite in disarray, because I’d taken care of my father the last two years of his life. I needed to find a new place to live. I needed a higher-paying job to qualify for a condo. I did – and this is a good segue into politics! I did canvassing for the midterms in 2018. Canvassing is where you go door-to-door, and you do the unpleasant task of asking people if they’re going to vote, and if they know who’s running for office. It’s scary! You don’t know what you’re walking into. I did it with this woman, Susan, and as we were walking, I learned she was a letter carrier. She piqued my interest, and her review of her job was glowing.
Josh: What appealed to you about the job?
Larry: That they have a strong union! That they’re taken care of, in a way that those not in a union are not. I’m kind of a Norma Ray – I’m always aware of my rights at a job. At a previous job, I’d take my federally mandated breaks, and they would ask me why. The model at many corporate places is to understaff and overwork, and if the employees ask for more, you let them burn out or you fire them. I’ve always been a hard worker, and I wanted to get rewarded for that.
Josh: And what was your training like? What challenges did you face after starting?
Larry: I had to go for a month or two to the main post office downtown, which is a gorgeous building. You go to a classroom and you study the language of their many acronyms. You learn about the flow, the logic of it, as well as the physical endurance, but never once in those training sessions did they mention what was waiting for us on the other side. I trained in May/June of 2019, and so there was civil unrest from the George Floyd incident, and COVID months later.
Larry: I remember one time very clearly walking into a cloud of tear gas that police had just thrown. My eyes were shooting out water, and I couldn’t read anything, and my job is specific to reading and identifying things. I had to go back to the office for an hour. Not to mention there were physical barriers that went up after the murder. It was incredibly hard to navigate
And then, COVID! We were the essential frontline workers. We were out in it, with no protections, no nothing. I remember Lysoling my body every block, because we didn’t know anything. And I had so many wanting to take the mail directly from my hands, being way too close in my personal space. Eventually, we all had protocols, but that took a long time. And now, Minnesota has set up compensation for frontline workers.
Josh: Thank you for carrying out that essential service, and putting your life and body on the line. Do you work every day?
Larry: I work every day, except for Sunday. I’m supposed to get a second day off during the week, but we’re so understaffed that that hasn’t happened in a month.I work about 80 hours/week. I do several days that are at least 12 hours. The pay is excellent, but I need a break for my body. There are times when it’s worn out, where I have muscle cramps. My body keeps moving. I’d like to think where I am in this stage of life is patterning myself after my grandmother.
She was this incredible source of life and God energy. I don’t know of anyone so radiant. She ate life by the mouthful! We all wanted to be around her. She had no room for bullshit. She could see right through people. She survived two husbands and two of her children. She had her own cabin up in the north, in her senior years! All by herself in the wilderness. She had her own business on Lake St. in the 40s. A businesswoman in the 40s, that’s practically…
Josh: Unheard of. What similarities do you see between her life and yours today?
Larry: I kind of wish I had a life partner at this point in life. I just don’t seem to be on whatever sync or groove that will lead me there, in large part because I’m so busy. But my grandmother was single for quite a long time. She was never bitter. Nothing about her was sad, sorry, or boring. I’d like to think of myself as going into this time in my life like she did.
Josh: How do you eat life by the mouthful?
Larry: Oh my god! I love what I do as a mailman. I try to see the best in everyone, and to remember that everyone is a child of God. I love growing roses, and I love taking them to work and giving them to unsuspecting people. Sometimes, there’s someone sitting in a funk, and boy, you can turn things around! I don’t take anything for granted. I survived two plagues. After work, I’m involved with the chorus! I dance, and I choreograph, and I’ve got seven production numbers under my belt. I love taking those of all technical levels and helping them grow. It’s beautiful. It’s rewarding. It’s fun. And I care for my neighborhoods. I take care of my people!
Josh: And where is your route?
Larry: My route includes the George Floyd Square. And they love me there! I have a passion for my route, the people on my route. I talk to them about politics, and about being beacons of information for others. I tell them about how important it is to get registered, to be informed. I love being this kickstarter in this way. Because it’s a hard time for us progressives and liberals. There are times when I, too, feel like I cannot take any more. It really is an incredible time, and I feel like it’s that way by design. That’s why I can never let it get me. You cannot entice me into apathy.
I feel an incredible connection with my dad. He earned a Purple Heart in World War II. He fought for this democracy to survive fascism. And although my service will never compare to his, I feel no less a duty to fight the same. We really are at a point of having to defend democracy. I never thought I’d be thinking this or saying this, but we are in a do-or-die situation. There is no other way to put it.
If that sounds hysterical, well, the ducks are all in a row. January 6 was one day, and we’re in the aftermath. There is so much at stake right now. And I get it – a lot of people are burned out right now. But we have the numbers. Democrats will always win when they turn out. And if we turn out in droves, we will win.
To register to vote, please see the link below.
Josh Elmore (he/him), singer and member of our small ensemble OutLoud!, created Humans of TCGMC in 2018. He graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Linguistics and has since worked in sales, higher education, and, most recently, as a bilingual insurance agent (Spanish). Endlessly curious, he has dabbled in improv theater, stand-up comedy, sword fighting, the cello, and modeling for fantasy-themed photo shoots.